Shares of China’s Bona Film Group soared by 44% on Thursday, their first day of trading following an initial public offering on the Shenzhen stock market.
The company had offered its shares for sale at RMB5.03 apiece. They quickly climbed to RMB7.24, before hitting the market’s ceiling on daily price movements.
At this price, the company is valued at RMB9.96 billion or $1.47 billion.
It raised $205 million from the sale of new shares in the IPO.
The IPO move represents a return to public company status for a firm that has frequently been ahead of its time.
Bona was in the early wave of Chinese companies to list their share in the U.S. and achieved an IPO on the NASDAQ exchange in 2010, in the hope that U.S. investors and financial markets would have a greater understanding of a media business – and therefore accord Bona a higher valuation – than if it listed in Hong Kong or mainland China.
When the adventure failed to provide the anticipated boost, Bona became one of the first Chinese companies to withdraw from the U.S. securities markets. Yu Dong, the company’s founder, took Bona private with the aid of media and tech industry investors in 2016.
Yu had anticipated getting the company back onto a public market in Greater China within three years. But the new listing did not materialize as a result of a slowdown in the Chinese film industry and the government’s rethink of cultural industry policy.
“We have walked for [nearly] seven years and it has been grueling,” Yu said in a fresh posting on the company’s website.
Bona has recently reinvented itself as a leading private sector purveyor of nationalistic blockbuster films. Its recent titles have included “The Captain,” “Chinese Doctors,” and two-part record breaker “The Battle at Lake Changjin” and its sequel “Water Gate Bridge.”
Lifted by such box office bounty, Bona has seen its profitability surge. Revenues in the six months to June climbed by 82% to RMB1.47 billion ($217 million). Earnings increased fivefold to RMB310 million ($45.8 million).